Jul 012021

From the great “Billy Powell on piano” to the humble screaming the word “guitar”, solo introductions have always been a part of rock and roll. A great introduction can boost a good solo to great and really add some kick to the song.

Some of my personal favorites have to be Justin Hawkins of The Darkness yelling “GUITAR” to kick off the lead in “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” featured below

This normally wouldn’t be special, but it came out in 2003. I feel like this a preserving the magic of a bygone age, and therefore it earns a spot on my list. It’s short, sweet, and gets the job done.

I’m also going to throw in Jimi Hendrix’s “I gave her the gun, I shot her”, and the subsequent “shoot her for me one more time” in “Hey Joe”

Now that I’ve given my examples, I’d like to hear some more from you guys. What introduction really boosted a lead to the next level? Alternatively, what was a time when someone really just needed to shut up and play? I look forward to listening.


  20 Responses to “Best (and Worst) Solo Introductions”

  1. hrrundivbakshi

    Great question, Garlic! Let me ponder that one.

  2. BigSteve

    Another one from Hendrix. On Red House after the verse that ends “I have a bad bad feeling that my baby don’t live here no more,” he says “That’s all right, I still got my guitar. Look out now . . .” and then he lets the solo rip.

    I know there are songs where someone other than the guitar player himself does the introduction.

  3. It’s right there, Beatleheads! Ringo introduces both solos on Honey Don’t with a “Rock on George one time for me” and then again ” Ah George Rock on for Ringo one time” just in case you forgot the names of two of the Beatles.

  4. mockcarr

    How about the tricky misdirection used by Mike Nesmith in Papa Gene’s Blues, where he says “play, magic fingers” and further exclaims “pick it, Luther”, I’m guessing in imitation of Johnny Cash, during the solo, but it’s probably the marvelous James Burton laying down the ensuing countrified janglicious guitar solo.

  5. I LOVE this topic, garlic salt! It’s hard to believe we may have never covered it before.

    The first one that comes to mind for me is, “Move over, Rover, and let Jimi take over,” from “Stone Free.” I love the balls of Hendrix announcing his own solo. It’s so appropriate to that ballsy song.

    It’s not an intro but rather an aside, but the next thing that came to mind was that tongue-in-cheek “Elmore James got nothing on this, baby” during the simple slide solo in “For You Blue.” I can’t remember if that’s George commenting on his own playing or not, but it always cracks me up.

    Finally, for now, I need to look it up and hear it again and make sure it kicks off the solo, but if so, but Robert Plant’s “Does anybody remember the laughter” line in some live version of “Stairway to Heaven” is the unintentionally funniest setup line.

  6. hrrundivbakshi

    This whole video is worth watching, but if you skip ahead to 2:55, you’ll see Morris Day exhorting Jesse Johnson to “cut ’em, Jesse” right before Jesse Johnson tears into a hairy guitar solo. There are a jillion Time tracks where Morris calls for one or another band member to jump in with a solo, horn section vamp, cowbell clonk, anything. And they’re all “wait for it”-worthy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgivTqOZntc

  7. If I’m hearing and interpreting it correctly, I love one that is actually the opposite of this topic. On one of the songs with that Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart group; after the solo Rod gives a quick “Over here” before going to the next verse. He’s actually introducing his own singing after Jeff took the spotlight with his solo.

  8. I also love, “OK. Let’s give it em, right now” in Louie Louie.

  9. HVB,

    Wonder if Michael Jackson approved that Quincy Jones appearance? Also surprised Quincy agreed to play the fool to Morris.

  10. Soooooper idea for a thread, Garlic Salt!

    Hendrix is the king of the spoken guitar solo introductions. “Here I come baby. . . .I’m comin’ to get ya” from “Foxy Lady” is yet another one of his great teasers. And I’m counting his “And the wind began to howl” from “Watchtower” as another as well.

    Here are some other winners:

    Zappa’s “Blow your harmonica, son.” from “Trouble Comin’ Everyday.”

    Jackie Brenston’s “Blow Your Horn, Raymond, blow!” from “Rocket 88.”

    Tommy James and Shondells’ incoherent mumbling from “Hanky Panky.”

    Shouldn’t this be a last man standing thing?

    P.S. Love “Papa Gene’s Blues” along with all the other Nesmith Monkees tracks.

  11. Happiness Stan

    May be lost on anyone outside the UK, but the “ok, let’s make this the big one for Otway’ which kicks off Otway’and Barrett’s Beware of the Flowers, Cause I’m Sure They’re Gonna Get You (Yeah) does the business for me. And then they stuck it on the b side of the hit.

    For the benefit of the curious, here it is https://youtu.be/cihz-Ftq6wU

  12. H. Munster

    Rob Tyner of the MC5 does a nice job of introducing Fred Smith’s solo on “American Ruse” with “Rock ’em back, Sonic!”

  13. BigSteve

    On “I’ll Take You There” Mavis Staples introduces each of the instruments during the break, including the guitarist — “Play on it, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.”

    Chuck Berry’s “Go, Johnny, Go” doesn’t exactly introduce a solo, but it does introduce the guitar riffs in the choruses.

  14. H. Munster

    “And then my mind split open.” Lou Reed on the Velvet Undergound’s “I Heard Her Call My Name.” Perfect.

  15. garlic salt

    All of these have been fantastic and I’ve been having fun going through and listening to all of them.

    I think EPG made a good point, this probably should have been a last man standing thread.

    Also, while we’re here, I can’t believe I forgot “Louie Louie”. There’s a great one on that.

  16. I’m looking to read what HVB has to offer. I have a fuzzy impression that ZZ Top has a few good ones, but I haven’t accessed the area of my memory of what they are. I consider HVB to own that corner.

  17. I can’t believe garlic salt forgot about Hendrix’s intro to like a Rolling Stone from Monterey pop festival. He interrupts his own rambling intro with “Excuse me for a minute and just let me play my guitar”


    One of my favorites is Little by Little from the first stones album when Mick introduces his harp solo with “My turn!”


  18. H. Munster

    Jr. Walker on “What Does It Take”: “Gonna blow for you.”

  19. This morning coming into work and listening to Dallas Wayne on the dog. He played Gene Vincent’s ‘Crazy Legs’ Vincent kicks it over to Cliff Gallup’s first solo with a manic pre-EVH ‘JUMP!!!’..pretty much perfection..

  20. H. Munster

    Rob Tyner in “Tonight”: “OK, kids. It’s rockin’ time.” I don’t know if the solo that follows is by Wayne Kramer or Fred Smith.

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